InfoSpace Seeks Search Engine Market Share

Now that InfoSpace has cleared away other business lines and staff, they just re-committed to online search. The company aims to grow through white-label distribution, which includes over 100 partners so far. In addition, they seek growth through through consumer traffic — and that strikes me as quixotic at best.

Remember Dogpile? Last summer, this InfoSpace search destination garnered about 0.3% share or under 26 million searches (per Nielsen, July 2007). The company also reported 6.7 million unique monthly visitors worldwide (per comScore, December 2006).

InfoSpace embraces the current search ecosystem, from both organic and paid perspectives. Dogpile has garnered J.D. Power’s top satisfaction award for two years running. It’s a nice interface that fetches results from Google, Yahoo, MSN Live and Ask engines simultaneously. Beyond the organic search results, InfoSpace has ensured both Google and Yahoo ad sources through 2011.

Yesterday’s strategy release mentions “significant product enhancements” and we’ll have to wait to hear more. In the meantime, the company touts the benefits of metasearch and non-duplicated results. In their April 2007 study of 19,000 random queries, over 75% of what each engine returned on page-one results was unique. In addition, the first three results returned for these queries didn’t overlap at all. Thus unifying and organizing different results seems to be the core value proposition.

So what will drive consumer demand? Well, InfoSpace appointed a new CMO yesterday to figure this out. Bruce Allenbaugh has held top-spots at bigger companies like Safeco and Nextlink. His experience leading marketing at Avenue A, as it went public, seems most relevant because he’s been involved in the Search and Search marketing business before. And since he is from the industry, we’d like to know what attracts Bruce to this role.

InfoSpace has such a storied history! Let’s see how they do in differentiating their offerings, and balancing between business partnerships and consumer opportunities.

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